Community Stakeholders: An Integral Part In Every Crisis Communications Plan

Businesses are often faced with protracted public relations and crisis communication challenges that take careful planning, multifaceted outreach and stamina to resolve.  Marx Layne & Co. is a leading Detroit, Michigan-based crisis communications firm specializing in the critical components of crisis management.  This includes effective communication with key stakeholders.

Marx Layne & Co. has counseled organizations through crises in communities across Michigan —from Grand Rapids to Traverse City, from Detroit to Flint, and Lansing to Kalamazoo —and our experience shows that getting advance support of your local stakeholders prior to a crisis can be a huge advantage in securing a favorable outcome.

Whether it is public backlash and organized campaigns against a plant expansion or new shopping center or retail outlet; consumer product safety or food safety campaigns; workplace discrimination issues; or even mismanagement by key executives, organizations need to develop a stakeholder engagement plan as part of any crisis plan.

Stakeholders: Focus on employees and the community

Stakeholders will vary according to the circumstances of each crisis, but there are some core groups who may have a role in nearly every crisis. First, employees are always the main priority and well-defined lines of communication need to be in place to reach them in all locations.  Next, key customers and clients must be kept informed.  Business owners spend years building trust with customers and during difficult times they will often be the best supporters.  Government officials and business and community leaders also can be vital advocates during an emergency. This includes police, fire, and local economic development officials.   Stakeholders in the financial world must be contacted as well.  Bankers, insurance companies, and suppliers are the people business owners deal with each and every day. Don’t leave them guessing or dependent on media reports. It’s essential to have a solid relationship with them and be proactive when a crisis develops.

For example, in working with large consumer clients in West Michigan, Marx Layne & Co. has established contacts with stakeholders in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Big Rapids. We find that this strategy helps diffuse many crisis communications situations, adds third-party credibility and strengthens the response process.

Building this group of stakeholders follows basic good business sense. It also must be sincere and genuine. Whether a letter, phone call or face to face meeting, always have valuable content to share and have a reasonable contact cycle for each stakeholder.

Successful communication with key stakeholders only occurs with proper planning. Establish a crisis communications team at your organization. Prioritize stakeholders according to their importance and have a clear plan on how you will communicate with them.

To learn more about how Marx Layne & Co. can help your business or organization develop a comprehensive crisis communications plan that includes working with key stakeholders, please visit Marx Layne Crisis Communications.


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